by Ben G. Price BenGPrice@aol.com
"We paid $3 Billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is." -- David Boylan, Station Manager, WTVT Channel 13, Fox News, Tampa, Florida, June 1996
How do we know when communication is authoritarian? I have discussed this issue at some length in the preceding three sections of this essay, describing the astonishing hypothesis made by Julian Jaynes, wherein we find that commands are foundational to a history of verbal communication. But we have also seen that consciousness has evolved, and the modes of authoritarian control that have emerged since the breakdown of the bicameral mind have been camouflaged in forms that escape critique, usually by erecting taboos, coercions, or intimidations that automatically warn-off objective examination. Laws and traditions against "blasphemy," "treason" and even "intellectual property" rights and "industrial espionage" are commonly wielded against individual inquiry into established institutions of held power. Throughout, tyranny asserts its superiority by creating a psychological distance between those who command and those who obey. And they do this with language, which they presume to control.
In Total Man, a book that is contemporary with and in many of its premises parallel to Julian Jaynes' theory of the bicameral mind, Stan Gooch gives speakers of English some insight into how hierarchy and authoritarianism came to be entrenched insidiously within the very words they speak. The evolution of the English language was profoundly effected by the Norman invasion of Britain in the year 1066. The Normans thereafter became the aristocracy and the Anglo-Saxons the peasantry. The caste division remained in place for generations, and is reflected in the language that developed. Gooch writes: "The situation is commemorated in the fact that we today say sheep and cow (German Schaf and Kuh) because the Anglo-Saxons tended the animals, but mutton (French mouton) and beef (French boeuf) because the Norman overlords ate them." (p 62)
Gooch goes on to explain the linguistic observation that the English (and their linguistic descendants) speak Anglo-Saxon while they write Latin. The use of Anglo-Saxon based words in interpersonal conversation reflects, he says, communication among presumed equals. But in "formal" exchanges, for instance when an official statement is being made, or a scholarly work being presented, the more aristocratic Latinized forms of words are habitually chosen over their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. And more, Gooch tell us, "The distancing achieved by the use of Latin roots is self evident. People habitually use them when discharging a difficult or unpleasant duty, or when 'putting someone in his place' -- that is, reminding him that he is an Anglo-Saxon and you are a Norman. In moments of strong emotion, or when talking to children, we revert to Anglo- Saxon." (p 63)
Richard D. Anderson, Jr. studied the psychosemantic situation in Russia after the decomposition of the Soviet Union in an effort to judge whether the nation was politically tending toward democratization or the re-entrenchment of authoritarianism. In his essay , "Look at All Those Nouns in a Row"--Authoritarianism, Democracy and the Iconicity of Political Russian, he wrote:
"Look at all those nouns in a row!" a Russian woman said to me in 1990, gesturing angrily at an inscription on the wall of the Lenin Museum in Leningrad. "Who writes like that! Who can read it!" Political scientists reasonably suppose that people living under authoritarian rule dislike either the content of ideologies that justify domination or the conduct of rulers who practice it. Yet neither content nor conduct drew this woman's ire, but "nouns in a row." The woman was objecting to what linguists call the iconicity of communist Russian."
I will continue quoting Richard D. Anderson at some length here in order to lay the groundwork for further discussion and thought. His comments regarding the hierarchical constructs and linguistic methods used to enforce authoritarianism at the threshold of common awareness are very instructive:
"Authoritarian rulers characteristically dissociate the language of politics from the vernacular or vernaculars spoken by populations under their control (Scott 1990, Anderson 1991). Rulers either use a language foreign to the local population or develop a distinctive "register" of the local vernacular. A register may be defined as "a coherent complex of linguistic features linked to a situation of use" (Irvine 1990, 127). Rulers who conduct politics in a foreign language and rulers who conduct politics in a distinctive register have something in common: in both cases the popular audience can be expected to experience their speech as an icon of distance. For authoritarian rulers, distancing speech serves to identify politics as a activity separate from the population's daily affairs and to communicate the population's political incompetence."
It is worth noting that both Gooch and Anderson remark on this authoritarian technique of using language to distance the tyrant as object of power from those subject to his rule. In Anderson's discussion regarding such iconic distancing we should keep in mind the functional parallels between political authoritarianism and the distancing time has created between human minds and the bicameral deities that once advised and commanded each quite literally and personally. And as we take note of these parallels, we should also take note how the void left by the receding bicameral voices has been filled by these very tyrants who make themselves sound as if they are speaking from a great distance--from Valhalla or some other residence for their stellar grandeur. Tyrants, grand and petit, attempt to create the illusion of filling the void between earth and heaven. Advertisers, priests, politicians, physicians, financial counselors, and every kind of "expert" use a professional lingo, a juggernaut of a jargon that, like the Latin mass, lends some transcendental legitimacy to their claim to being able to bridge the chasm between the supposed fallen nature of post-bicameral man and the Edenic garden in which he once lived and communed with the god within.
"Registers of politics may be either elevated or depressed relative to the vernacular. Noble Javanese addressed each other in an elevated register called krama, distinguished from the vernacular ngoko by longer words and "permissive of frequent and lengthy pauses when speaking" (Errington 1985, 9-10). Greek authoritarians formally required all official statements to be made in Katharevousa, a high register distinguished from ordinary Dhimotiki by greater abstractness and more complex syntax and also used in church and in some scientific publications (Frangoudaki 1992). Nazi German and the speech of Wolof nobles represent depressed registers marked by deliberate brutalization or incoherence. Emulating Hitler's Mein Kampf, Nazi speakers deliberately transgressed the boundary, relatively prominent in German, between oral and written speech. They mixed slang considered crude by German audiences with elaborate metaphors drawn from technology, war and church sermons (Maser 1981, Bork 1970), producing overlong sentences by "heaping" words and phrases for the sake of emphatic repetition (Seidel and Seidel-Slotty 1961, 1-8). Wolof nobles speak softly, intentionally stammer, and make deliberate grammatical errors in a show of "conspicuous disfluency" rationalized as a device to avoid overwhelming subordinate castes with the weight of their authority (Irvine 1990).
"Distinctive registers and foreign languages are alike in producing linguistic forms that signify conceptual distance by replicating physical distance. A Wolof noble's murmuring mumble sounds as distinct as speech in a normal tone heard from afar. The indistinctness of distant speech also characterizes what Greek audiences heard in the speeches of their authoritarian rulers, who used Katharevousa "to conceal the absence of information among incomprehensible ancient words" (Frangoudaki 1992, 369). The tendency for Hitler's speech to rouse strong emotions but leave little trace in memory is a commonplace. He achieved this effect by exploiting the two-octave range of his voice. The contrast of the high audible frequency of stressed words to the low frequency of unstressed words disrupted reconstruction of Hitler's meaning by causing his speeches to seem to doppler in and out, as if he were shouting from a distance (Maser 1981, 58). The prolonged sentences produced by speakers of Javanese krama, by Nazi and Greek authoritarian orators, and by Wolof kings who needed to repeatedly pause to correct their deliberate grammatical errors, also produce a feeling of physical distance relative to normal speech. For in ordinary speech, each clause combines the number of words which transient attention is capable of remembering while the mind analyzes their meaning (Chafe 1994, 65- 69). When clauses are protracted, the hearer or reader must pay more attention in order to remember and understand, just as when sounds are attenuated by distance.
"When audiences for authoritarian speech hear or read text that distances the speaker or writer from the audience, they recognize that the speaker or writer could have used the vernacular but chose to stand aloof. The implicit rejection of the vernacular denigrates it as a medium of political communication. Disqualification of the vernacular for politics in turn communicates to popular audiences the speaker or writer's assumption that people who formulate their thoughts in the vernacular are politically incompetent. Of course authoritarian speakers and writers, especially those relying on a distinctive register vaguely comprehensible to popular audiences, make this inference explicit. The Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, for example, charged that urban Germans had "sunk to such a low level that they can no longer form opinions on political questions" (Petzold 1983, 97). If messages that people are politically incompetent and that politics is distant from their concerns are more likely to depress participation than messages ascribing competence to the people and nearness to politics, then distancing speech serves to perpetuate authoritarianism."
In a paper presented at the 19th annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, (Vancouver, Canada, June 30-July 3, 1996), Victor Petrenko and Olga Mitina offered further insight into why politicians and power brokers might want to fund and control the new craft of examining peoples' language to determine what they think and how to influence it. The Faustian ends to which seemingly innocuous psycho-linguistic inventories gathered by political R&D men can be put are outlined in The Psychosemantic Analysis Of Political Consciousness:
"The methods of experimental psychosemantics allow the researcher to gain access to knowledge about how people think that is not available to the subjects themselves. In psychosemantics, the task for the individual subject is to provide some classification about a topic. The response could be a judgment of similarity, an indication of the extent to which he agrees or disagrees with a statement, or some other association. There are many different types of responses that are possible with this technique. On the basis of numerous responses to a range of stimuli, a matrix of data is obtained from each subject. The matrix can then be used with any analytic technique that is based on matrix algebra. There are many possible ways to analyze these matrices including a variety of multidimensional procedures such as factor analysis, cluster analysis, latent variable modeling, and others that are familiar to those with a good background in data analytic techniques. As result the researcher can find "bundles" of interconnected meaning that form the coordinate axes of semantic space. The number of independent factors that emerge from an analysis defines the number of dimensions that are used to locate meanings in semantic space. According to this geometric model of the mind, the greater the number of independent factors that emerge from an analysis, the greater the cognitive complexity of the individual, group or social consciousness. Another parameter of semantic space, in addition to the number of factors or dimensions, is the importance of the factor. Some factors are stronger determinants of how people think than others. (Mathematically, the power of a factor is the proportion of the variability in the responses that can be accounted for by the factor.)
"The structures that are found in a data matrix are interpreted as the categorical structures of the subjects' semantic space. These structures are the frameworks or skeletons of the mind that are not available for self observation or introspection just as the rules of grammar that adults use so easily cannot be articulated, but nevertheless guide the use of a language."
An April 1998 poll of politicians' attitudes regarding the ability of average citizens to understand current political issues yielded results consistent with a growing distancing between citizens and their officials cum leaders. The consensus among the elected representatives was that people generally had little understanding of political matters. It is not known if they were asked to what degree their own activities might have contributed to this ubiquitous ignorance of the facts.
In 1990, the National Conference of Teachers of English awarded Newt Gingrich's booklet Language, A Key Mechanism of Control a Doublespeak Award. The booklet, funded and published by Gingrich's discredited political action committee, GOPAC, suggested that Republican candidates adopt the emotionally charged vocabulary listed categorically for their convenience. The congressional campaign platform, known as the Contract With America, incorporated this activated rhetoric, and so did the candidates themselves as they emulated their political leader's success as an orator for conservative revolt against the "worn out" and "politically correct" agenda of the "left."
The list of "positive, governing words" Republican candidates were told to use when speaking about themselves or their policies :
Active(ly), Activist, Building , Candid(ly), Care(ing), Challenge, Change, Children, Choice/choose, Citizen, Commitment, Common sense, Compete, Confident, Conflict, Control, Courage, Crusade, Debate, Dream, Duty, Eliminate good-time in prison, Empower(ment), Fair, Family, Freedom, Hard work, Help, Humane, Incentive, Initiative, Lead, Learn, Legacy, Liberty, Light, Listen, Mobilize, Moral, Movement, Opportunity, Passionate, Peace, Pioneer, Precious, Premise, Preserve, Principle(d), Pristine, Pro-(issue) flag, children, environment, Prosperity, Protect, Proud/pride, Provide, Reform, Rights, Share, Strength, Success, Tough, Truth, Unique, Vision, We/us/our, Workfare
The list of negative words and phrases that candidates were told to use when speaking about their opponents:
"Compassion" is not enough, Anti-(issue) flag, family, child, jobs, Betray, Coercion, Collapse, Consequences, Corruption, Crisis, Decay, Deeper, Destroy, Destructive, Devour, Endanger, Failure, Greed, Hypocrisy, Ideological, Impose, Incompetent, Insecure, Liberal, Lie, Limit(s), Pathetic, Permissive attitude, Radical, Self-serving, Sensationalists, Shallow, Sick, They/them, Threaten, Traitors, Unionized bureaucracy, Urgent, Waste.
Given the available knowledge about how language is, as Gingrich plainly put it, A Key Mechanism of Control, it seems probable that at least as much funding, research, and strategy went into the bundling of these two lists for controlled and targeted dissemination into political discourse as went into the scholarly efforts of the above cited psychosemanticists. Petrenko and Mitina write of the bundling of meanings in individual psyches as revealed by what amount to opinion polls. A psychological landscape, in fact a mathematically revealing geometry of thought can be assembled by mapping meaning-charged words as they are used and understood by individuals and groups.
Well then, if we can assemble such a map of the public mind, and if we can study it like a multidimensional topology, by meticulously recording the language and meaning associations of people, it should be possible to consciously choose meanings and draw up lists of words that convey them, and then very consciously and exclusively inject them in chosen and constant contexts so that what to the listeners is an unconscious shift in the preponderance of bundled meanings associated with certain phenomena (say, a political agenda or an unfamiliar new product), becomes for the authoritarian strategist a fortunate turnabout in public attitudes.
We may despair to think how effective such manipulation can be. Elections won and lost as a result. Social programs discredited rhetorically, and then dismantled legislatively. Or a sudden fad in terms of dress, hygiene, diet, or spending habits. Some consolation may be taken in the belief that the bundles of meaning concocted for these purposes are quite superficial and harmless. But the fact that we are typically unconscious of how we think and what motivates us allows those who have the means and the unindentured time an advantage over us. They may discover our patterns of thinking and motivations for themselves, and predict them, and finally control them, to either harmless or harmful ends.
Who decides what you may and will think about, and with what attitudes? If not yourself, then whose brain is it in your head? Achilles might have answered, "Athena's!" and Abraham might have answered, "Yahweh's!" Later, historical figures might have answered "Caesar's!" or "Allah's!" or "Christ's!" or "my sovereign king's!" The Bill of Rights granted each American the right of free speech, but says nothing about the right of free thought. It's such a glaring oversight that no one ever thinks or talks about it. We are, in fact, unconscious of our mental incarceration.
Now that kings and gods may not legally rule us, who decides what we may think about, and with what attitudes? Isn't it Proctor and Gamble, General Motors, Monsanto, the GOP, Archer Daniels Midland, Hill & Knowlton PR, Microsoft, the Dow Jones Industrials, MTV, Rupert Murdoch, CNN, Boeing, The Democratic National Committee, Iowa Beef Processors, Nike, Vidal Sasoon, Sony, Toyota, CityCorp, The Christian Coalition, Rush Limbaugh, General Electric, Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum PR, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Washington Lobbyists, and everybody else with money to spend on tinkering with your head?
Perhaps most disconcerting is the knowledge that we spend every last dime purchasing (or even renting!) the tools of our negation as conscious people. Ivan Illich wrote for us in Tools For Conviviality(pp 96-98):
"The mode of corporate production establishes a radical monopoly not only over resources and tools but also over the imagination and motivational structure of people. Political systems compete to baptize the same expanding industrial structure into opposing creeds, without recognizing that it is beyond their control. The convergence of corporate monopolies on the deep structural level of society can be called the industrialization of man. The trend must be inverted if people are to be free. But the industrial corruption of language itself makes this issue terribly difficult to formulate.
"Language reflects the monopoly of the industrial mode of production over perception and motivation. The tongues of industrial nations identify the fruits of creative work and of human labor with the outputs of industry. The materialization of consciousness is reflected in Western languages. Schools operate by the slogan 'education!' while ordinary language asks what children 'learn.' The functional shift from verb to noun highlights the corresponding impoverishment of the social imagination. People who speak a nominalist language habitually express proprietary relationships to work which they have...Those who have been modernized and unionized expect industries to produce not only more goods but also more work for more people. Not only what men do but also what men want is designated by a noun. 'Housing' designates a commodity rather than an activity. People acquire knowledge, mobility, even sensitivity or health. They have not only work or fun but even sex.
"The shift from the verb to noun reflect a transformation in the idea of ownership. 'Possessing,' 'holding,' and 'seizing' no longer describe the relationships people can have to corporations, such as systems of schools or highways. Possessive statements made about tools come to mean the ability to command their outputs, interest from capital, or merchandise, or some kind of prestige connected with their operation. Fully industrialized man calls his own principally what has been made for him. He says 'my education,' 'my transportation,' 'my entertainment,' 'my health' about the commodities he gets from school, car, show business, or doctor. Western languages, and above all English, become almost inseparable from industrial production. Western men might have to learn from other languages that ownership relations can be restructured in a convivial way.
"In a society whose language has undergone this shift, predicates come to be stated in terms of a commodity and claims in terms of competition for a scarce resource. 'I want to learn' is translated into 'I want an education.' The decision to do something is turned into the demand for a stake in the gamble of schooling. 'I want to walk' is restated as 'I need transportation.' The subject in the first case designates himself as an actor, and in the second as a consumer. Linguistic change supports the expansion of the industrial arena: competition for institutionalized values is reflected in the use of nominal language. People gamble for what they perceive as nouns."
The Russian woman who complained to Richard Anderson, "Look at all those nouns in a row!" may have been off-put by what he refers to as the "iconicity" of the official language used, or how it seemed to distance the political elite from the common people. But maybe she sensed a greater depth to the corruption of her native language, one that, as Illich says, supported the commodification of life from the perspective of communism, while in the Western world a similar commodification was being encoded in English for the capitalist commoners.
The tools of our negation as individual conscious entities include the artifacts of indoctrination: the media, the schools, the churches, the workplace. The "commodities" of nominalized freedom of behavior must be acquired through the bureaucracies of production. As Illich puts it, instead of wanting to walk, we "need transportation." In order to "get it" rather than actively "do it," those competing for commodified activities must first comply with standardized behaviors, and obey the dictates of the fundamentally expanded market for permission to own (rather than act on) commodified freedoms. Even the issue of freedom from commodification becomes marketable. Nike's "Just Do It" is a registered trademark, and so is the slogan of the soft drink commercial that satirizes hyped-up advertisements and ends with the minimalist statement, "Obey Your Thirst."
What all of these efforts to predict and control subjective mental states of individuals and populations have in common is an underlying agenda to render each person's mental life accessible and commandable by voices of modern authority. The historic age in which we are mentally immersed is ruled by industry and commerce. So the politics of the age will serve these masters, and not the democratic or socialist or even royalist whims of people whose allegiance is not to the business of business. Every method of psychological control becomes legitimized as a tool for the transformation of minds attached to other motivations, traditions and philosophies. Sublimation of command is the method. Schizo-orations permeate our lives with Muzak in the elevators, infomercials piped down every aisle in K-Mart, radios in our cars, showers, and telephone hold buttons, televisions in our bedrooms, "living" rooms, limousines, bars.....
In Pyramids Of Sacrifice Peter L. Berger writes (pp 192-193):
"While modern consciousness has features that are the same over the world, there are many different worlds of tradition. Thus the collision between modernity and tradition takes different forms. Some traditional worlds are more open to modernization than others. Nevertheless, almost everywhere the onset of modernization is experienced as a severe trauma, a collapse of the old certainties, and, for better or worse, the beginning of a journey into new worlds of meaning. The experience is eloquently expressed in the following passage, in the words of a man interviewed in the former Belgian Congo:
"I learned to feel close to the ancestors, and to know we were one with them, although I still did not know where they lived or how. But when I put on the skin of the leopard and painted my body and became as a leopard, the ancestors talked to me, and I felt them all around me, I was never frightened at such times, but felt good. This is what we have lost, what we had taken away from us. Now it is forbidden for us to talk to our ancestors....so we can no longer learn their will or call on them for help. We no longer have any reason for living, because we have been forced away from the ways of our ancestors, and we lead other men's lives, not the lives of our fathers."
The introduction of the ubiquitous transistor radio in the 1950's was resisted on ideological grounds by the Chinese communists, as well as theocratic regimes throughout the world, because it threatened to bring to the ear of the commoner the disembodied voice of foreign authorities. Domestic authorities feared the "transistor" would threaten their legitimacy, because of the automatic resonance such an electronic oracle would produce in the people.
The age of television has revived the inherent and ancient trust people once invested in the erupting interjection of commands, directives, suggestions and entreaties from seemingly disembodied sources. Instead of hearing authoritarian voices inside their heads (since the "sane" among us no longer hear such auditory hallucinations), we sit voluntarily, sometimes for hours, in audience of an electronic icon that not only speaks continuously; it also presents us with ever- changing images of dramatis personae. And the actors who mouth the words which they are rewarded for saying as convincingly as possible have taken on the function of the stone, unmoving icons once consecrated by our ancestors to act as catalysts to re-evoke the fading voices of the bicameral gods.
The ancient (for "Western Man") and now silent internal voices once functioned in a socio- political capacity. They use to direct behavior within populations of limited size and scope. High priests and oracles pronounced with authority the presumed desires and commands of the god- kings, who represented the legitimacy and lineage of the ancestors who had passed from mortal life into the invisible, immortal realm of the afterlife.
Our new bicamerality is directed not by cultural wisdom, but by commercial imperatives. But the circuitry in the human brain being accessed by the tyrants of materiality is the same as that which once permitted religious fervor and "moral obedience" to be elicited. And now it is not in limited, linguistically autonomous populations that the new gods of the marketplace command and urge us into action. No, it is in the "global village" (as Marshal McClullen named it), where a monolithic empire of material imminence is being established. And the banality of commerce has been transubstantiated into the transcendent nirvana of our engineered desires.
Although the bicameral command couched in advertisements and all the other contemporary instances of the sublime imperative creates a crowd mentality and a preponderance of conformity among listeners, this doesn't mean there are no conscious listeners resisting the success of a command. But the pressures on such individuals to conform despite the subjective suspicions of a command's illegitimacy is substantial. In fact it is just these pressures that contribute to the formation of a crowd mentality and the sublimation of individual ego consciousness so that the perceptions of individuated minds are subsumed and negated by the informal ritual of confirmation into consensuality that crowd formation becomes.
Nevertheless, even those minds that will be susceptible to integration into the bicamerality of the crowd are initially able to detect and remark on the ritualized formalities constructed for the hierarchical sublimation of the ego and subjective perception in the context of political and social power tussling. This recognition of the conditions inherent to the bullying tactics of "authority" are sometimes perceived as condescension, or the snobbery of the elite. It is sometimes experienced as the boorish, uncouth bullying of a tyrant. Or even the charismatic sophistication of a "hero of the people." The dynamics of each case varies only in terms of the "friendliness" of the tyranny being practiced. The measure of bicamerality, I suggest, lies in the degree to which resulting behavior is involuntary, and the degree to which the presence of the sublime imperative (voice of command and suggestion) is directive of attention and volition on an unattended level.
The call for ego consciousness is emphatically not a disparagement nor an insistence on the abandonment of the non-conscious wisdom that is evolution's legacy. We are not all to become that modern mythological archetype for the non-emotional, logically driven mind, the Vulcan "Mr. Spock." There are those who have taken the insights provided by Jaynes' theory of the bicameral mind and turned it to commercial-political ends. I refer to Neo-Tech, a for- profit scheme with roots in the true-believerism of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Promotional literature for Neo-Tech includes "information packages," in the form of polemical essays which reveal the ideological abuses to which knowledge of human mentality can and are being applied. John Flint and Eric Savage, in Controlling Mystics Through Their Bicameral Minds write:
"What is the Bicameral Mind? The bicameral mind is a human mind functioning in a particular, unconscious mode or manner...in the manner intended by nature...The discovery of controlling people through their bicameral minds evolved from a more basic discovery made by Dr. Julian Jaynes of Princeton University. His discovery was first identified and then integrated in the following article written for the Neo-Tech Research and Writing Institute.
"...Anyone can exploit the automatic bicameral mind in others by setting up 'authorities' for influencing or controlling that bicameral mentality seeking external guidance... Understanding bicameral tendencies in others can provide unbeatable advantages by knowing the external forces that control most people. That understanding enables one not only to predict the actions of others but to control their actions."
Another "information package" written by Frank R. Wallace titled Creating Business Values and Predicting Stock Prices reads in part:
"Neo-Tech IV is based on the following principle: All Honest, Long-Range Profits and Societal Values Generated by Business Arise from the Mystic-Free Standards of Capitalism...The purpose of Neo-Tech IV is to (1) provide a standard to judge the future financial value of business enterprises, (2) provide specific standards to increase the financial value of business enterprises, and (3) contrast the wealth-producing mystic-free nature of business to the wealth-destroying mystical nature of altruism and neocheating....Attrition of value is inherent to any business situation subjected to altruism, mysticism, or neocheating."
In this same paper, under the sub-heading A Proposal to Increase the Value of Du Pont Common Stock, Mr. Wallace writes:
"To understand that principle, the difference between altruism and capitalism must be identified. The contradiction between those two terms is evident from the following definitions: "Capitalism is a moral/social system as well as an economic system based on the philosophical premise that every man and woman has the exclusive right to his or her own life and property. Implementing capitalism always yields by nature a benevolent society in which individuals deal with one another on the basis of values -- the voluntary exchange of values. Force and coercion are obviated. Capitalism is consistent with man's rational needs and requirements for prosperity and happiness.
"Altruism is a morality based on the philosophical premise that man lives for the sake of others...that man's life and property are available for sacrifice to "higher" causes, e.g., the common good, society, the needy, the world, the dictator, God, country, politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers. Implementing altruism always yields by nature a malevolent society in which individuals deal with one another on terms of who will be sacrificed to whom, who will support whom. Force becomes the deciding factor. Fake jobs and bogus livelihoods grow like cancer. ...Altruism is contrary to man's nature, rational needs, and requirements for happiness.
"The altruists' final goal is to coerce or force all value producers to support and respect them, the value destroyers. The motive and ability to produce competitively and in abundance for others vanish when the producer becomes controlled by the nonproducers. Who would be responsible for such an evil, for such an unjust scourge to fall upon our civilization? Ironically, the political leaders, religious leaders, freeloaders, collectivists, and other value destroyers would not be primarily responsible. Those responsible will be the altruistic neocheaters posing as business "leaders". Such uncompetitive business quislings are today implanted throughout business and industry worldwide.
"Those executives will bear the responsibility for the demise of their companies and free-market capitalism. Their altruistic principles are inimical contradictions to the principles of competitive capitalism. Through such business quislings, the sacrifice of the value producers and businesses is possible. Indeed, those quislings are the transmission belt between the value producers and the value destroyers.
"But, the implementation of the capitalistic principles presented in this proposal would render impotent those altruists who are currently in positions of corporate power. For, without those altruistic business quislings, the value destroyers would be powerless to sacrifice the value producer. Their demands for sacrifice would go unanswered. The decline of capitalism would end. A new renaissance would begin. Civilization would rise to a new standard of rationality. Benevolence and goodwill among men would flourish. Man's productivity and happiness would soar."
The nearly religious fervor of these words in unmistakable. And the duplicitous notion that on the one hand escape from bicameral manipulation is the hallmark of advanced modern man, while on the other hand the knowledge of bicamerality should be employed to manipulate the remaining bicameral majority for financial advantage is a notion that must, above all, do away with altruism by declaring it public enemy number one.
The Neo-Tech program for wealth accumulation (at least for the Neo-Techies) is emblematic of the societal forces now in ascendency which are short-circuiting the liberation of human minds from authoritarian control.
Awareness of our motivations should give us the potential for more conscious and less automatic and potentially self-harming choices. As we can see, it can also be exploited, and is regularly exploited in response to a general ignorance of these same facts. There is a danger that ego-consciousness, divorced from the human wellsprings of perception and an inheritance of an admittedly animal essence, will render us an efficient and characterless species akin to the ants and termites. No advanced social structure has been tried before by mammals, but insects evolved extremely efficient societies, at the expense of any remnant of individuality or creativity. Creativity is the non-authoritarian bridge between the conscious and the unconscious realms of human mentality. Creativity requires that we permit conscious and unconscious perceptions to connect and intermingle in novel ways, even borrowing artistically or poetically from the "old perceptions" of humanity, the archetypical meanings that are imprinted deep within the brain. Seemingly "mystical" forms of mentation have been responsible for empirically powerful insights, such as Einstein's renowned ability to visualize geometrical relationships nonverbally.
This is not a call for the mythologizing of reality or the "reenchantment of the world" (to borrow Morris Berman's phrase). And it is not the abolition of the non- conscious processes of human thought that I have been advocating, but rather the abolition of the traitorous, even "quisling" (to borrow Mr. Wallace's term) manipulation of those mechanisms of thought by unscrupulous tyrants.
The meanings and authority we loan to meanings allow us to interact socially. For anyone to consciously interpose their spin on them, below the threshold of conscious scrutiny, is the act of a saboteur and enemy. The claim to ownership of the means of manipulation, and to proprietary "rights" of secrecy about those means, and about the facts being censored and distorted, are claims made solely to create and favor an aristocracy of privilege and an authoritarian hierarchy. This, undeniably, has been the historic human trend. And it is the trend being resisted by those who can remain conscious of tyranny, and creative in their responses to it.
"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." -- Thomas Jefferson
Next month: Part 5 -- Are We Still Bicameral?